The following article is a newspaper
from an unknown newspaper
or a NSDAR publication. The article is in the possesion of John Egnew,
JOHNEGNEW@aol.com and donated for use on the Mariposa History and Genealogy site
to Cadiz, Ohio from his first trip to California
where he married Mary Keesey in 1852. Several years later he returned
to California bringing his wife and son by wagon train. They settled in
Coulterville where he ran a blacksmith shop and mined. They had five
children, three boys and two girls.
Their son Austin was born in Cadiz. The other children, Amanda,
Frances, Arthur and George were born in Coulterville.
Austin and his wife Clara had seven children, James who is
unmarried, Armanda who married George Dexter, Myrtle K. Clark, Norma
“Nell” who married Will Canova, Florence Metz, Edith and Alice
(Alicia). These children are all buried in the Coulterville Cemetery.
Armanda Shimer married James Halstead of Coulterville and Hazel
Green, a stopover on the Coulterville Road, the first wagon road to
Yosemite Valley. They had seven children: Mary Elizabeth, Robert
Franklin, Lulu, James Shimer, Jeanette, Gertrude and August. Mary
Elizabeth married Frank Albert Bondshu. Two of their sons Harold and
Lowell Bondshu (third generation Californians), Harold’s son, Robert
(fourth generation) and Bill, Coby and Frank and Krista, the children of
Robert and Rachel Bondshu, (fifth generation Mariposa County) all live
in Mariposa and are descendants of this branch of the family. Robert
Franklin Halstead who operated the power plant in Yosemite for many
years married Nellie Hope of Coulterville. Their descendants live in
Hanford, Merced and Atwater. U. S. Shaver and Lulu moved to Oregon.
James Shimer Halstead married Della Rouse Shimer. He was a railroad
employee at El Portal. Their children settled in Tuttle, Merced and
Fresno. Jeanette Halstead married Jesse E. (unreadable).
Frances Shimer married Frank Halstead. They lived on a ranch near
Coulterville. They had five children: Elmira A. Stipes, Albert, Lloyd,
Cloyd and Elsie. They settled in Merced and LeGrande.
Arthur Shimer married Mary Daneri of Coulterville.(See more on the Daneri family )
were (unreadable) and William J. Shimer recently retired from the
Division of Forestry. He and his wife Grace live in Coulterville. They
have two sons John William and Michael Arthur. John William Shimer and
his wife, Judy and their children John Garrett and Shae Gregory live in
Greely Hill. Michael Arthur Shimer and his wife Kathy and their
children, Richard John and Tina Marie live in Coulterville.
George Shimer was married to Della Rouse. They had three children
Hazel Ellis and Nettie Hawk of Yosemite and George Shimer, Jr., of
James Shimer died April 22, 1903 and his wife Mary died February
14, 1908. Both are buried in the Coulterville Cemetery.
James Shimer’s great grandfather, Daniel Shimer with his brothers,
Frederick, Michael and Adam came from Germany. They sailed on the ship
“Edinburg” from Rotterdam September 15 1749. They settled in Northern
Maryland just across the line from Bedford, Pennsylvania. He was a
blacksmith by trade. His son James Shimer served as a Ranger on the
Frontier (1778-1783). He was a Revolutionary Soldier from Northhampton
County, Pennsylvania, First Company, Jacob Dewit, Captain, Fifth
The Shimer Family were early settlers and pioneers in Harrison
County, Ohio having moved there in the early 1880’s.
Helen Houston Bondshu
Mariposa Chapter, NSDAR, Bicentennial Project
JAMES SHIMER’S TRIP TO CALIFORNIA IN ‘49
The following account of James Shimer’s trip to California was
published in the Evening Gazette in Reno, Nevada on July 7, 1915 and
Colonel John Conwell and printed in the Cadiz, Harrison County newspaper
on July 22, 1915. These two men at this time were the only survivors of
the Cadiz party.
James Shimer, a pioneer and early settler in Coulterville was born
in Cadiz Township, Harrison County, Ohio in 1827. The party bound for
the gold fields of California consisted of the following persons: James
Shimer, Asbury Johnson, his brother Henry, Frank Brainard, Thomas
Holmes, Lewis Lewton, Ralph Bancroft, John Conwell, Josephus Bradbury,
William Cady, Jacob Allender and a Dr. Y. H. Jones who started but
dropped out. A man named Spotswood joined the party at Louisville.
The group left Cadiz, Ohio on March 20, 1849, going by boat from
Martin’s Ferry to St. Louis from there to St. Joseph, Missouri, also
made by boat and then the trip across the plains began. They had three
wagons and twenty-one mules, six mules to each wagon, the other three
alternating while the tired ones were given a rest.
One of the many adventures across the plains and over the
mountains: when they were camped in North Platte Valley, one night there
was a terrific storm. The tents were blown down and could not be made
fast. Rain fell in torrents and hail covered the ground to a depth of
three inches. In the morning they found themselves on a bed of
quicksand. The wagons sank in the sand up to the hubs. The mule teams
could not get close enough to the wagons. A long rope was attached to
the wagons and boards were laid on the ground and placed near the wagon
wheels. The men stood on the boards to prevent them from sinking in the
sand. The mules were hitched to the rope, by pulling and the men by
lifting, the wagons were finally brought out on safe ground. On the
average they made twenty mile a day, one day fifty miles were covered.
This was necessary in order to reach a place where they could obtain
This wagon train had an easier trip than most of the pioneers.
They attributed this to their mules. A majority of the pioneers crossed
the plains with oxen, all the way from the Missouri River, they passed
carcasses and skeletons of these animals. They had died of thirst and
exhaustion. These pioneers knew nothing of how or where to locate
water. The Shimer party did not have the know how either, but their
mules did. When they were within four miles of the Humbolt River, the
mules were on the point of dropping. Suddenly one of them whinnied, and
the team stopped automatically, the mules sniffed and as if a starter
had said “go” they took off at a terrific pace. There was no stopping
them, they had smelled water. They ran right into the Humbolt River and
did not stop until they had found the deepest place. In the river they
again demonstrated their keenness. Instead of committing suicide as a
horse or man would do when so nearly dead of thirst, they drank
sparingly and remained in the middle of the river for more than an hour.
In this group
there were several experienced hunters and they had
no trouble killing two or three deer a day so they had plenty of food.
They also did not have any trouble with the Indians.
In August they passed through Reno. There was only one house there
at the time. This little house was used as a hotel for those on their
way to Sacramento.
The group arrived in Weaverville on August 24. They did not stay
there long, from there they moved to Hangtown (Placerville) and then to
the Southern Mines near Coulterville and Sonora.
In the course of several years most of the members of this wagon
train returned to Cadiz. James Shimer returned to Cadiz and later
returned with his family and made his home in Coulterville.
created November 2001
County Family Chronicles
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